NFL Week 3 Predictions - Game-by-Game ATS Picks

KC Chiefs QB and Coach talk

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, September 20, 2016 9:10 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 20, 2016 9:10 PM UTC

Two weeks of NFL. Two weeks of winning NFL picks against the spread for this weekly column. Get in on the action and find out how to line up week 3 against the spread for each and every game.

Week 2 NFL Betting Recap
Another rollicking week in the NFL is in the books and it was a good one for the most part as far as our weekly game-by-game column for SU and ATS NFL picks is concerned. Admittedly, our Totals did so-so…no sense in crying over spilled beer. The important bit: all records are in the green after two weeks of predicting each and every game. Check our other previews here:

Complete game-by-game rundown of week 3: Totals Picks
Complete game-by-game rundown of week 3: Straight Up Picks

Nikki Adams Game-by-Game Picks Week 2 and Overall Season Record 
Week 2 SU: 12-4-0          (Season Total: 25-7-0)
Week 2 ATS: 12-4-0        (Season Total: 24-8-0)
Week 2 Total: 6-10-0      (Season Total: 16-15-1)

That preamble out of the way lets dive into week 3 and analyze each and every matchup versus the spread complete with choice NFL week 3 picks.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots
If you’ve followed this column since week 1, you’ve bet the Patriots and reaped the rewards. Critics be damned, those NFL naysayers that predicted nothing but doom and gloom over the first four weeks for the Patriots. If there’s one thing the Patriots are known for, it’s the next-man-up philosophy. There’s no coach better at game-planning for one team than Bill Belichick. With whatever roster he has at his disposal he’ll fashion plays that cater to its collective strength. Garoppolo’s injury certainly puts a damper on things, make no mistake. Heck, it’s prompted a complete turnaround in NFL betting markets for this game with the Patriots falling out of favor at Gillette Stadium, an unheard of move in NFL betting markets. Well, not since Peyton Manning and the Broncos visited Gillette Stadium in 2014 were the Patriots at the disadvantage versus the spread on their turf. (Tale told, they won and covered with an exclamation point.)

Of course, such an about change is relevant and can’t be brushed aside. But when the Patriots have given no cause for concern yet, why panic prematurely? Jacoby Brissett is going to be the starter for this Thursday Night Football extravaganza. We’ve seen two-plus quarters played by the Florida product, and while they weren’t the greatest ever by a rookie he did do his job and protected the victory Garoppolo all but assured by lifting the Patriots to the 24-0 lead during his turn on the field before succumbing to injury. As it is, mum’s the word on who the backup quarterback is for the Patriots. (Does it matter? Belichick could field the water boy and the Patriots would win). There are reports that suggest Garopplo might suit up as the No.2. Others have suggested Julian Edleman could potentially take over should the need arise. Whoever it might be, this is a team that plays like a team should. Hard to bet against a winning formula, even if their next opponent has proven reliable over the first two weeks of the season at the sports betting floor and brings a 2-0 SU and ATS record. Something is going to have to give but until proven otherwise back the Patriots on your NFL picks.

Free NFL Picks: Patriots +2.5 (-108) 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Arizona Cardinals vs. Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills are in a bit of a pickle, down 0-2 SU and ATS with a -6 losing margin on average and a negative differential versus the spread (-5.0). If you want, Rex Ryan and his twin are wearing thin their welcome in Buffalo. Losses to the Ravens (away) and divisional rivals NY Jets (home) set the Bills on a precarious but familiar path that ultimately leads to a comfy couch come playoff time. They’re catching no breaks this week either with a visit from Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals nor for that matter a week 4 date with Bill Belichick and the Patriots who win no matter which quarterback they field. Ryan would have the NFL betting public believe the Bills relish such contests, even fancy their chances of defying the NFL odds. Believe it when we see it.

Free NFL Picks: Cardinals -3.5 -110 
Best Line Offered: at YouWager

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Oakland Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans
A fair share of NFL bettors were disappointed by the Raiders in week 2 following a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. (Not to brag but Falcons to win SU and cover as +5.5 road underdogs was the top upset NFL pick in this column for week 2. Just saying.) Look bettors believe in what they see. In week 1, they saw a gutsy Raiders side come from behind to defeat the Saints with a balsy two-point conversion. Of course, they were the popular NFL pick as a result. A team is only as good as its weakest link. When the defense is the weakness it becomes a huge problem. Raiders might be top of the charts in total offense but, at the same time, they prop up the league in defense ahead of week 3, a unit that is not only merrily giving up yards but meaningful ones that are converting into an average of 34 points scored against them. There’s an argument to be had about the quality of quarterbacks and offensive lines this defense has had to stare down in the first two weeks, which could prompt speculation about how bad said defense really is. A fair point, of course. However, by that same token, one must speculate about the merit of the offense too. Is it really the top offense in the league with 940 total yards and an average of 31 points scored. Or is it only as good as the defenses it faced were bad (Saints are 30th and Falcons 28th in total defense)? Consider the Titans faced the Vikings in week 1 and stifled the offense to just four field goals and held Adrian Peterson to meager numbers. Then they stifled a Lions offense that put up some magical numbers in week 1…get the drift? It wouldn’t be so unreasonable to expect the Titans to take the measure of the Raiders offense as well.

Free NFL Picks: Titans -1 (-110) 
Best Line Offered: at Bodog

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Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins
Cleveland fans don’t know if they should laugh or cry. Not only can’t they buy a win no matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to keep hold of a quarterback either. Two games in, two quarterbacks banged up and injured. There are no words to convey just how dire things appear at the moment. What’s more, things could potentially get much worse. Consider the Dolphins are directly responsible for injuries to Russell Wilson (week 1) and Jimmy Garoppolo (week 2), the possibility they would go three-for-three is real. Rookie Cody Kessler should be worried (so too recently acquired the veteran backup, Charlie Whitehurst, should he get called in for relief duty). That’s Dolphins defense for you. Otherwise, Miami hasn’t looked any good in two weeks of the season. Sure, the schedulers did them no favors with a season opener in Seattle followed by a divisional clash in New England and it’s easy to lay the two defeats at their door. However, when has Ryan Tannehill and the Miami offense been reliable or trustworthy? They must bear some of the responsibility for those losses. That neatly brings us to the spread for this game, which currently hangs on 10-points at most respectable sports betting shops. Not to question the wisdom of the NFL betting line, but there’s no way laying that many points with an unproven Miami offense is a sound betting strategy.

Free NFL Picks: Browns +10 -110 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

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Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Gus Bradley is on the hot seat and could very well become the first NFL head coach fired this season, if not this week then very soon. Jaguars were one of the most talked up teams in the preseason along with the Raiders, two sides that were expected to take the next step. So far, the jury is out on the pair. Week 1 looked promising for Jacksonville despite taking the home loss to the Packers. Week 2, however, was atrocious. It doesn’t even bear mentioning. Suffice it to say it turned all that promise and enthusiasm of the preseason into nothing but hype where they are concerned. When betting on games from week to week, it’s important to take the preceding week with some reservation. This case is challenging. How can we not react to what happened last week in San Diego? Then there’s the resilient Ravens, who are 2-0 SU and ATS with a 5.5-point winning margin on average and a + 2-point differential versus the spread. They’ve not played scintillating football at all. Yet, they’ve found ways to win. There’s something to be said about this being a must-win game for the Jaguars; it could be the catalyst for a turnaround. Realistically, it’s a long shot. Bradley and the Jaguars have been in this position before only to fail. Why should it be different this time?

Free NFL Picks: Ravens -1 (-103) 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
The Lions and Packers are coming off disappointing defeats in week 2. The Lions fell to the Titans at home while the Packers succumbed to a 17-14 defeat to the Vikings. It follows both Jim Caldwell and Mike McCarthy will be keen to get their campaigns back on the winning track in week 3, but no guesses to which the bookies favor to do just that. McCarthy’s Packers, obviously. The Packers are currently laying anywhere from -7 to -8.5 at most sportsbooks. Curiously, books opened at Packers -8.5 line but Lions betting at early doors bet the NFL line down to -7 at several sportsbooks. What gives? Does the public really expect a repeat of last season’s upset by the Lions at Lambeau? It was a one-off, surely. Or are they simply reacting to the offensive struggles the Packers endured at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota and, mainly, Rodgers and Jordy Nelson failing to find their rhythm. Look, definitely a bit of a worry. However, nothing a couple’s massage therapy can’t sort out this week. It’s a lot of points to lay with the Packers given the close calls in week’s 1 and 2, but, call it a niggling feeling. It’s only a matter of time before the Packers light up.

Free NFL Picks: Packers -6.5 -110
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Denver Broncos have been getting away with it according to many (churlish?) NFL pundits, leaning heavily on their defense to win games. Indeed, it worked against the Colts in week 2 as the defense scored a pick-six to effectively serve up the second win of the season. The Bengals, meanwhile, succumbed to a defeat in week 2 at Heinz Field, losing to fierce rivals Steelers to slip to a 1-1 SU mark on the season. To be fair, the Bengals could easily be 0-2 SU on the season had the Jets not botched the lead in week 1. There’s a lot to like about the Bengals, to be sure as a perennial playoff contender. But therein lies the problem, much of the NFL betting coming down the wire appears to be based on what Andy Dalton and the Bengals accomplished during the regular season over the last four years or so. In particular, last year when they got off to an 8-0 SU start. If we were to take a sobering look at the first two weeks of 2016 how do the Bengals really stack up? By the stats, they’re putting up a lot of yards in total offense (793 yards) but only averaging 19 points per game. Defense is conceding in almost equal measure (714 yards) but, crucially, conceding more points (23 on average). Two games isn’t the best cross-section to bear in mind, but, in this case, it’s enough to consider the Bengals might just be overcooked on the NFL odds board.

Free NFL Picks: Broncos +3 -105
Best Line Offered: at BetCris

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Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers
Following the bounce back win over the 49ers in week 2, the Panthers reopen on the NFL odds board as the whopping 7.5-point home chalk. Few sportsbooks have moved off that number. If so only by half-a-point. In other words, the Panthers are laying anywhere from -7 to -7.5 depending on your choice sportsbook. That’s a lot of points to be laying with the Panthers considering the Vikings defense and run game. Yes, the Panthers can light up, and they are a solid and trusted home team against the spread. The Vikings though counter that admirably with their never-say-die attitude. Don’t they continue to defy the NFL odds? Critics were so quick to throw their season into the tip following news of Bridgewater’s injury. Some nifty negotiating and wheeling and dealing to get former No.1 draft pick Sam Bradford from Philadelphia. Lo and behold, the Vikings are standing tall atop the NFC North standings. What’s more, Sam Bradford was arguably the best player in week 2 if you take into consideration his limited time with the team and playbook. (If there’s a player of the week award, somebody give it to him please.)

Free NFL Picks: Vikings +7.5 (-105) 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle 

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Washington Redskins vs. NY Giants
Nobody is liking what Kirk Cousins is doing, least of all his teammates. That’s potentially a recipe for disaster ahead of a pivotal divisional clash in week 3, which has the added weight of being a must-win game too otherwise the Redskins slip to 0-3 SU for 2016. It’s not all down to the poor and erratic play of Kirk Cousins – visibly regressing to his 2014-self – but also down to the questionable defending by the Redskins. The problem is fingers are mostly pointing to Cousins. If the team doesn’t trust its quarterback, how can we?

Free NFL Picks: Giants -3 -115 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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LA Rams vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Both the Rams and Bucs are 1-1 SU and ATS in the season but with a big difference, the Rams are yet to score a touchdown in two games. Overall, the Rams boast a whopping 11-point losing margin and a -9.5 differential versus the spread. The Bucs boast a 13-point losing margin and a -8-point differential versus the spread. These stats are largely skewed by the pair falling short of expectations in one game each this season. As such, it’s a tough game to handicap. Which Rams will show up in week 3 – the one that laid an egg at Levi Stadium or the one that beat up on the Seahawks. Similarly, will it be the Bucs side that triumphed over the Falcons or the one that was shredded to bits in Arizona that make an appearance in week 3? The balance leans towards the Bucs for a bounce back.

Free NFL Picks: Bucs -4.5 -110 
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
A gimpy Russell Wilson against a stout Niners defense isn’t an ideal situation for Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. The NFC West stalwarts are coming off a narrow 12-10 win over the Dolphins and a 9-3 loss to the Rams. Both games featured double-digit spreads and, sadly, yours truly was a sucker for those both times. Three times? Not a chance. Not biting. Nope. Nope. Nope. Ok, so not really sure what to make of the revamped Chip Kelly Niners either. They do seem better than they were last season, although Blaine Gabbert is hardly the long-term answer.

Free NFL Picks: Niners +10 
Best Line Offered: at Bodog 

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NY Jets vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The revived NY Jets that got into the win column take on a Kansas City Chiefs that looked god awful in Houston last week. Which account holds merit for week 3? Dilemma, dilemma. Chiefs are a relatively good home team and the loss in week 2 was really their first regular season loss in 12 games. In other words, 11-1 SU since last season is not something to sniff at. On the flip side, the Jets lit up the Bills on the road in week 2, underscoring the hype that surrounds both their offense and defense. Chiefs are laying the standard -3 attributed to a home team. It’s the fourth most common margin of victory according to NFL insiders but in two weeks of 2016 that key number hit just once; last week’s 17-14 win by the Vikings.

Free NFL Picks: Jets +3 -105 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes 

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San Diego Chargers vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Chargers took the Jaguars to the woodshed in week 2. The Colts were steamrolled by the Broncos in week 2. Two contrasting accounts that are sure to make an impression either way on the NFL betting public. We’re not totally sold on either team but the balance tips ever so slightly towards the Chargers in our books as the +3 road underdogs. Colts simply don’t have the defense to thwart Philip Rivers especially if he gets on a roll.

Free NFL Picks: Chargers +3 -110 
Best Line Offered: at Betway 

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
The public is crushing on Carson Wentz and the Philadelphia Eagles and NFL pundits and experts alike aren’t cooling the flames of this love affair by waxing lyrical about the rookie. Granted Wentz does deserve some of the platitudes for lifting the revamped Eagles onto his shoulders and carrying them to a 2-0 SU and ATS record on the season. However, the Eagles faced two of the worst teams in the NFL. If that’s not catching a break, what is? Look until Wentz and the Eagles beat a proven team, this may very well be smoke and mirrors. Steelers are the real deal. Beat the Steelers and then we’ll talk. For now, Steelers is the official NFL pick.

Free NFL Picks: Steelers -3.5 (+100) 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle 

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Chicago Bears vs. Dallas Cowboys
Cleveland Browns are the consensus worst team in the NFL since the preseason got underway. The Chicago Bears, however, are giving the Browns a good run for their money for that dubious honor. They are 0-2 SU and ATS with a 12-point losing margin on average (same as Cleveland) and minus 10-point differential versus the spread (Browns are -8.0). It’s no surprise the Cowboys are now laying -7, up from -5 earlier in the week.

Free NFL Picks: Cowboys -6.5 -105 
Best Line Offered: at JustBet

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints
MNF serves up an NFC South clash between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. While the Falcons are 1-1 SU and ATS the Saints are 0-2 SU and ATS. Neither side boasts much of a defense to speak of so it should be a wide open game at the Superdome, making it a tough one to call. As such, bookmakers roll out the standard field goal advantage for the Saints. Suppose it goes against conventional thinking to suggest the Saints start 0-3 SU on the season. But is it improbable? Consider the Saints haven’t had a winning season in the last three years. Why is Sean Payton still the head coach? In the interest of change, a loss for the Saints might just be the tonic to shake things up.

Free NFL Picks: Falcons +3 +100 
Best Line Offered: at Heritage 

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